Change the way thumbnails look in the iOS Photos app

The iOS Photos app defaults to showing you square thumbnails but you can switch to “Aspect Ratio” thumbnails, which are much more useful.

The iOS Photos app’s Thumbnail grid view gives you a bunch of little squares, and that’s good if you want to pack a lot of thumbnails onto one page. But most of your pictures aren’t square, so a square thumbnail is a cropped thumbnail, so you can’t even tell if a picture is landscape or portrait, not from the thumbnail you can’t.

It’s a lot easier to tell what the thumbnails represent if you use the Aspect Ratio Grid. See below.

Regular square grid vs aspect ratio grid in iOS 14 Photos.
On the left: Square Photo Grid. On the right: Aspect Ratio Grid

How to change the way thumbnails look

Get into the Thumbnail view and tap the Options button (the circle with the three dots in it), at the upper right. (On an iPad, there’s a button at upper right that says either “Square” or “Aspect”– just give it a tap and you’re done. The Options button still works though.)

Showing options button for thumbnails in iOS Photos app
The Options button

You’ll get several options. The one we want is “Aspect Ratio Grid.” Tap that, and you get something like this:

Options in iOS Photos Thumbnail View
Options in iOS Photos Thumbnail View

Choosing “Aspect Ratio Grid” gives you this:

Aspect Ratio Grid in iOS Photos
Aspect Ratio Grid in iOS Photos

Note: if you don’t see “Aspect Ratio Grid” as an option, you’re either zoomed out too far (so tap “Zoom In”) or you’re already in Aspect Ratio Grid.

In Aspect Ratio Grid it’s much easier to see which pictures are which. In this screenshot we can see one image in landscape orientation as well as two movies. Also, several thumbnails that looked identical in the regular “square’ thumbnail grid are easily distinguishable in the Aspect Ratio View.

If we go back to the Options button again we can make this even better by zooming in (refer to the screenshot two pictures back).

Aspect Ratio Grid, zoomed in

Now that’s a thumbnail view that’s really useful. At least to me. Experiment and see what works for you!

Copyright 2008-2024 Christian Boyce. All rights reserved.

Did this article help you?

Maybe you'd like to contribute to the
Christian Boyce coffee fund.

Want some some quick Mac how-tos?
Visit me at One-Minute Macman.

Looking for in-depth tutorials?
See my website!

Please use the “Sharing” buttons to share what’s interesting with your friends. It helps them and it helps the blog. Thank you very much!

Christian signature
Christian Boyce

2 thoughts on “Change the way thumbnails look in the iOS Photos app”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Read our Privacy Policy